Passions power small businesses


Young Founder: Arya Yazdani promotes products for his business, Ares Apparel. Photo courtesy of Arya Yazdani.

Hailey Cho, staff writer

As the world of business continues to evolve, it is also opening up for young entrepreneurs, as South students with small businesses, like junior Sara Kahn, prove. Opening her jewelry business, Sphinx, in August 2020, Khan found ways to combine her jewelry-making hobby with her passion for humanitarian aid.

As Covid-19 continued to escalate, Khan noticed that other problems in the world, such as the Yemen crisis, weren’t receiving as much attention from the media, so she decided to try to bring attention to the crisis through her jewelry business.

“I have a couple of friends who were refugees from Yemen, who had experienced malnutrition like you couldn’t even imagine,” Khan said. “That type of crisis was not getting any media attention because of [Covid-19], and malnutrition was on the rise, especially for kids under the age of five.”

Khan believes networking is easier because most of her customers are teens, but she added that running her own business as a teenager can have its issues. It can be stressful because she has to balance her business with school and other areas of her life, and it is often frustrating to be bombarded with emails requesting orders before they are ready, Khan explained.

“I make all of my products,” Khan said. “It takes at least a week to make one order, and when I get hundreds of orders at a time and I’m literally making orders 24/7, I don’t catch a break and [other] parents are constantly emailing me.”

Although there are plenty of obstacles that Khan must overcome regularly, she explained that her love for what she does fuels her, as does the need to work creatively.

“I refuse to work at a 9 to 5 job,” Khan stated. “I think it’s really important that people pursue their passion.”

Like Khan, Senior Arya Yazdani turned his passion into a business, creating the clothing line, Ares Apparel, during the pandemic. Yazdani began Ares Apparel as a response to the pandemic, and he said that he wanted a business that would coincide with his love for designer clothing.

“Ares is the God of war,” Yazdani explained. “I picked Ares because I was trying to spread a message to be mentally strong and fight all the negatives, and that’s why I chose the motto: life is war.”

Yazdani said that he has been met with challenges in finding his place in the business world. Both noted that networking and spreading the word about their products is one of the most difficult parts of running businesses. Yazdani makes an effort to be professional, despite being met with discouragement on occasion.

“Most teenagers don’t really care about [my business], and I don’t blame them,” Yazdani explained. “Teenagers have a lot of stuff going [on in] our lives. Some of them may think [my business is] stupid, but that’s okay, because those are the obstacles that come with making a business.”

Mark Maranto, Assistant Principal of Student Activities, has mixed feelings about students starting their own businesses at such young ages. Although he respects the initiative and ambition that it takes for a student to run their own business, Maranto said that a more cynical part of him wonders why a student would want to start working when they have the rest of their lives to do so.

“There’s a little bit of me that says, just enjoy high school; but for them, maybe that is enjoyment,” Maranto said. “Maybe there is pleasure in the process of starting it, maintaining it, and building it.”

Like Maranto guessed, Yazdani’s passion for his business is not rooted in monetary gains, but rather the active participation in the world of business.

“It’s not about the money I make from it, but more about [the experience],” Yazdani said. “[It’s about] learning how to make [a] website and marketing, socializing, and meeting people to advertise my brand.”